When we decided that Spain would be the first European destination of our journey we really didn’t know where to start. We knew that when we first arrived we wanted to do a couple of weeks of Spanish classes to help us communicate with the locals, but from there the country was our oyster. We started researching in our trusty Lonely Planet book and came across Cordoba. We thank our lucky stars that we didn’t overlook this little town; because it’s safe to say we fell in love!
Cordoba is small, yet vibrant and bursting at the seams with culture. The narrow streets in the old quarter were built to confuse the enemy in the event of an invasion, and are picture perfect at every turn. The buildings are painted white and yellow with occasional touches of blue and nearly every home decorates its balcony’s with potted flowers.
What to do
Cordoba’s most famous building, The Great Mosque of Cordoba (Mezquita), is a must see. It’s Islamic architecture, radiant decorations and Christian Cathedral inside the Mosque make this building a tourist hotspot. OUR HOT TIP: Entrance fees are about 10€ pp, but if you get up early, you can enter from 0830-0930 for free!
Please listen to us when we say, treat yourself to a Hammam bath in Cordoba. We were a little hesitant when we saw the price, 28€ pp for a bath and relaxing massage, but we had read such good things on Trip Advisor we decided to spend the money. Oh my goodness, was it worth it! The symbolic Arab baths do exactly what they advertise, transport you to the splendour of the Al Andalus Kingdom. We were lucky, I have to say, as we were the only people there so we had our own little private experience. When we arrived we were taken to a private room, where we enjoyed mint tea and olives. We were then given the opportunity to change into our swimmers and were taken to the baths which were lit by candlelight and natural light from cut out shapes in the roof. There were two cold baths, a large medium pool, two hot baths and a steam room. After we had enjoyed the baths for an hour we were taken for an oil massage. After our massage we had time to shower before enjoying more mint tea before, sadly the experience finished.
We always do a free walking tour on our first day in any new city and Cordoba was no exception. A good way to see the town, learn about the history and find things to do on the coming days.
Valencia – Cordoba – AVE high speed train, 40€ pp.
The AVE high-speed trains get up to 300km/hr. Where possible we recommend you use them, as it cuts hours off time otherwise wasted in transit. OUR HOT TIP: Book these tickets as far in advance as possible. We didn’t, as we wanted to leave room for spontaneity, and we literally paid the price.
Where to stay
Backpackers Al-Katre – twin share, 36€ per night
We stayed at the Backpackers Al’Katre and we loved it. A typical Cordoban house has been converted into a small boutique hostel. The owners were lovely and very accommodating, however didn’t speak much English, which enabled us to put some of our newly learnt Spanish into practice. The hostel is close to everything, has good wifi, nice bathrooms and the owners will cook you breakfast for 2€ pp upon request.
Where to eat
La Fabbrica Pizzeria – 1 entrée,1 pizza and 2 drinks – 22€
There are plenty of tapas bars dotted around the town, but if you feel like something other than tapas we recommend La Fabbrica Pizzeria. A 20-minute walk from the old town gets you just hungry enough to really enjoy the food. The staff were friendly and the pizzeria has a rock-star feel.
La Bicicleta – 2 drinks and 1 tapas – 8€
Right in the centre of town La Bicicleta has cheap food, nice drinks and good music. They claim that if you arrive on a bike you receive a discount. Adam fell in love!
If you’re going to Spain, go to Cordoba! We recommend 3 nights, its a small town so you can pretty much see it all in 3-4 days!